Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mama Said They'd Be Days Like This...

Oh good gravy! Ever have one of "those days" that you'd like to just completely forget?!? I tell ya, the last 24 hours have been an absolute doozy!! Nothing that is catastrophic, but when you stir all my-

(this guy came to mind, huh?) 
-of these last few hours, WOWZERS.  It will all be so some point in my future. (hopefully before this day is over!) If you don't want to hear of my oh, so glorious day, then stop reading now. If you want to feel so sorry for me, or just to have a good laugh, please by all means, continue on. :)

It all started with Ryan and I having the privilege of getting our taxes done. (insert some major sarcasm) This is the time I despise ALL year. Getting all those receipts together just isn't my idea of a good time. Needless to say, the end result wasn't wonderful, but the "only" good side was that we do have what we needed to pay those nasty taxes. While we were there, I got a call from Emileigh's school that she had vomited and wasn't feeling well. There I was 1 1/2 hours away from the kids, and I've got a puker. Thank goodness for our Dora- aka Mimi. She came to the rescue for me. <3 that woman! That morning Ryan and I had planned on eating somewhere for lunch and making it a "date" while we were out of town- only problem, our 2 1/2 hour appointment turned into a 4 1/2 hour appointment. So we grabbed a drink and crackers from the gas station on our way home. I know, I know- so romantic! Looking back on it now, taxes don't really put you in the romantic mood anyway! 

We arrived home to pick up Emileigh; in the meantime, I had to let the girls know to ride the bus home since we didn't think we'd make it in time to pick them up from school. We knew we would be home a little before they got off the bus. This isn't anything new, I'm usually that crazy mom that has to see how my day is going and let them know if they are bus or car riders around 1:30. I know they'd rather be a car rider, but sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Anyway, we got Emileigh home, and I got her settled. Shortly after, Abby comes in "I'm hoommee!!!" Wonderful! Wait..."Hey Abby! Where's Lauren??" "I don't know, I didn't see her on the bus." Oh gracious! By this time it is 3:20. I try the school office- no answer. Now- I need to interject here, this isn't the first time that Lauren was to be a car or bus rider and I forgot and did the opposite. But usually when I have forgotten Lauren, or even one of my other children, (hey don't judge!) the secretary has usually called me saying "I've got Lauren in my office." I had not received a call from her, so I tried her cell, no answer. So then I try a friend from church who works at Lauren's school and she usually is working car line- no answer. Then I have enough sense that I called her teacher. She had accidentally sent her to car riders. whew! (Imagine that... a kindergarten teacher- getting slammed at the end of the day, and forgetting something! I'm sure that rarely ever happens!) She was quite worried with sending her the wrong place, but I was feeling much better that I had heard that she did send her to car riders. That meant that Lauren wasn't asleep on a bus somewhere! Our school has a great extended day program- of which my children always ask why they can't go to it. Silly kids, I don't need childcare in the afternoon, therefore I'm not going to pay for it! I arrived at the school, and sure enough, when I walked in, the director assured me they had her. Lauren was quite enjoying herself, and on the way home inquired again, why she couldn't stay more often? What was so sweet and funny in this was that when I explained to her I wasn't going to pay the school to keep her when her dad or I could, she said, "Well you send the school money all the time, just send extra!" She is so funny!

After having been on the road ALL day, I got Abby to get her piano practice in while I went to get Chesley from practice. I told her to set the timer, and I was on my way. When I got back home, I thought I'd sit on the couch for a minute and take a breather, then I checked the clock- nope, time to start dinner. (it's at this point almost everyday I think to myself- "why didn't I put something in the crockpot?") Please tell me I'm not the only one. I got in the kitchen and realized that the microwave wasn't working. I checked the breaker, that wasn't it. Nothing on it was working. After some investigating, the "timer" Abby had set was the COOK TIME on the microwave. So it cooked with nothing in it for almost 20 minutes, when it burnt itself up. So now, I have to get a new microwave. UGH!!! On the up side- dinner was a hit!

After dinner was baths, which went better than normal- surprisingly. (I say that because I didn't even have to tell them to do it. Maybe it was Ryan who told them, or maybe they sensed they probably shouldn't cross mom in the mood she's in!) By the time all were going to bed, it was 8:30. Lauren- who always wants to sleep with Ryan and I, came into the room complaining of her belly hurting (all with a smile) so I chocked it up to her trying to sleep with us. I sent her to go sleep with Chesley. I was asleep probably by 9:30. At 11:00 I was woke up by the dreaded sound of vomit hitting (thankfully) the hard wood in the dining room. But (also thankfully) not in Chesley's bed, or carpet- or my carpet in my room! Lauren was sick! So pitifully sick. I felt so bad for her. We got her cleaned up, and the "puke bowl" lined and ready. I "slept" with it in my hand, and every time she moved or made a noise, I awoke and had it under her ready. That consisted of 12, 1, 2, 3 and 4 am. (and a few times in between being a false alarm) 

I prayed over my child, praying healing, and relief. The Word tells us in Isaiah 53:5 "...And by His stripes we are healed." And in Mark 16:18 ..."they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." I knew my baby would be ok, but it so hard to see her so sick. Ryan and I both laid hands on her and prayed for her. Anytime she would start to move or moan- I spoke that over her. At 4 am, I was exhausted, and I knew I had one hour to sleep before I had to get ready for work. Then the alarm went off at 5 am, and I promise- I had JUST looked at the clock and it said 4!! I hit snooze twice, and finally drug myself out of bed at 5:20. Got pretty much completely ready, (seriously only had to put on my shoes) and I contacted my charge nurse to let her know what was going on, and she was precious enough to let me stay at home! Can I get an AMEN! 

That was a great ending to a pretty rough 24 hours. PTL! I have been able to hold and cuddle my sick little one, and thankfully, we've only had 2 more episodes of sickness. Hoping we are at the end. Just praying now, that her sore belly will subside. As bad as the last 24 hours may have been...the devil WILL NOT win today! Thankful for God supplying all our needs "...according to His riches in glory By Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19.

I said all of that to say, that no matter who you are in life, or in Christ, or whatever, there is always something to be seen by the paths that are brought before us. God knew I wasn't going to have the best 24 hours...but all it does is make me rely on Him more. If everyday was lollipops and gumdrops, our flesh may not be reminded as much that He is all we need, and He is who we should turn to, and He is the Great I Am! I'm thankful for those times that I can truly say..."take it Lord. It's in Your Hands. No matter how trivial, I give you all of my worries. "Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22 NIV. "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV

Remember, He is all we need! Do you have a day that comes to mind where NOTHING went right? 

Enjoy the Journey!


Friday, February 7, 2014

God Is Just Awesome Like That

I am still amazed when God uses me in even the smallest of ways. Honestly, I'm not just amazed, I'm ASTOUNDED. Who am I? I'm certainly not worthy of being used by God. I'm not even worthy of holding the title "Pastor's Wife". But when the day is done, He is the One who called me to that position. He is the One who gave me to Ryan. He called Ryan to Pastor, and spread the Gospel, therefore, He had to call me as well. We are one, and if He called Ryan, then He called me. You hear people say all the time, "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." I've said it myself- to those in doubt, no less. When it is often times I don't feel equipped in the least. But when I really truly think about it, the magnitude that He wants to use me, is beyond my understanding, or even at times, my desire. (That's where the old flesh pops in right desire).

As I'm growing in the Lord, and enjoying my journey in ministry, I'm in awe when I realize, that small little gesture I thought might have just been me, was actually the Holy Spirit prompting me. This past Monday, I thought of a dear friend that is also a pastor's wife. We are not extremely close, but I admire her, look up to her and consider her a mentor. (whether she realizes it or not). So it's not everyday that she comes to my mind, but she did on Monday. So I spoke a quick prayer over her. Nothing big, or dramatic. Just a simple prayer for the Lord to guide her steps and to be with her. I sent her a quick text telling her that I was thinking of her and said a prayer for her that day. Simple, not super get the idea. Her reply was "Thank you Paula!" I went on about my day, thinking nothing more of it.

Yesterday, I got a text, looked at my phone and it was from her. It stated, "Wow, I didn't know what your prayer was for on Monday, but I've sure felt it the rest of this week! Thank you for praying!" Now, I was at work at this time, had I been at home, I probably would've cried and snotted like I don't know what. But since I was at work, I controlled myself- no worries people! It was at that moment that I realized, it wasn't just a prayer I prayed. It wasn't me that just thought of her. The Holy Spirit prompted it! WOW. With all the people that she and her husband pastors, with all of her other friends in ministry that God could have used. He chose me. ME!!!!! That just blows my mind!

I have no idea what she faced this week, it might have been major, or almost nothing. But what if I hadn't taken the time to pray for her? How often do we feel like we should pray for someone, or call them, or shoot them a Facebook message, or a text, and life happens and it gets by us? What if God uses someone else, and we miss out on being a vessel for God? I don't ever want to miss out on what God has for me to do. But, what if we were the only one He wanted to use for that situation? If we didn't obey that tug, or nudge, or racing heart, or even that brief thought? It took less than a minute for me to say that quick prayer for her Monday. She didn't feel it that day, but the rest of this week it helped her. Not only did it help her, it helped me. It was just another little confirmation that God really does want to use me.

I know that seems so trivial, and simple. You'd have to know me, and know that I do have insecurities in how God wants to use me. After 16 years in full-time ministry, I still struggle with this. He is stretching me and making me get out of my comfort zone to walk where He wants me. I don't want to be comfortable any longer. If I'm comfortable, then I'm not being willing. Willing to do what jobs He has for me in my life, and in Ryan's and my ministry. The devil has tried too long to put thoughts in my head that I wasn't enough. I wasn't good enough, or smart enough, or wise enough. But I'm learning that as long as I am searching Him and staying in His Word, He gives me the wisdom and "smarts" that I need. After all, He made me. He knows my insecurities. He also knows my heart, and that I want to do what He wants me to do. I may not hit it out of the park every time. I may crash and burn at times, ok, A LOT.

One thing is for sure through all of those crashes and burns, I've learned from them. And the heartache, and disappointments I have felt, I've learned from those as well. Most of the time, I end up being able to help someone else through something that I went through. Then it hits me, and I think, "if I went through that for this one person, so I could help them through it, then it was worth it." I truly believe that. Why? Because His Word says, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 NKJV. It is as simple as that.

My prayer for you today is that you will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to use you in whatever way He wants. As insignificant as you think it is, it will be BIG to someone else. Don't disregard that name that enters your mind, if even for only a second. Say that prayer, send that text, pick up the phone. Do what you feel led to do. You don't have to know the answers, it's not for you to know all the time. God knows. He has is already worked out. He knows the outcome. The only thing you need to know is, will you be willing to be a vessel?

Enjoy the Journey!